Quickening Your Hearing of Scales/Modes with Mich Polan


Catch Up Mode with Mich Polan


Unlock the mysteries of music from The Visible Vault. Mich Polan, Drum Division Head and Modern Music Instructor at Visible Music College, shares a lesson in “Catch Up Modes”.

I. Introduction – Identifying Modes/Scales by ear is difficult for beginning-level theory. There are, however, some shortcuts you can develop to simplify what you are hearing, and these shortcuts will come by:

a.) Deepening conceptual understanding of modes/scales in relation to “home base” major scale
b.) Relationships between modes help to group into smaller categories
c.) Shortcuts are developed through categories and then “hot notes”

II. Concept – A walkthrough of how all 7 modes + minor scales relate to a major scale (using A major as our reference)

Ionian – just a major scale
Dorian – lowered 3rd and 7th from a major scale
Phrygian – lowered 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th from a major scale
Lydian – raised 4th from a major scale
Mixolydian – lowered 7th from a major scale
Aeolian – a.k.a “natural minor”, lowered 3rd, 6th, and 7th from a major scale
Locrian – lowered 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th from a major scale
Harmonic Minor

III. Relationships – Grouping modes/scales into 3 categories for listening shortcuts
Major Sounding – Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian
Minor Sounding – Dorian, Aeolian, Harmonic, Melodic
b2 – Phrygian and Locrian

IV. Shortcuts – With smaller categories, we can now isolate “hot notes” to get us to the answer faster!
Major Sounding – #4 for Lydian or a b7 for Mixolydian
Minor Sounding – all have b3, but….
b6 will be either Harmonic minor or add b7 and now you have a natural minor
just hear a b3 and everything else major? Melodic minor
b2 Sounding – big give away is the b5 (Locrian).


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